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SC for display of community fireworks

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Ban on firecrackers lifted by Supreme Court in Delhi-NCR

Directing the Delhi Police to reduce grant of temporary licences by about 50 per cent of those issued in 2016, a bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta also restrained Haryana and Uttar Pradesh from granting more than 50 per cent of the licences granted in 2016 in the National Capital Region in their respective jurisdictions.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the Delhi government was being "lethargic" about taking proactive steps to counter air pollution.

Summary: The Supreme Court on Tuesday modified its November 2016 order and lifted a ban on the sale of firecrackers in Delhi with conditions. There is, therefore, some justification for modifying the interim order passed on 11th November, 2016 and lifting the suspension of the permanent licences. Referring to the risky levels of air pollution in Delhi after Diwali a year ago, the bench said persons living in Delhi during that time would have experienced choking effects of breathing in polluted air and tremendous increase in the use and sale of face masks and air purifiers.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted "for the time being" its order of suspending the permanent licences for sale and retail of fire crackers within the National Capital Region (NCR) by modifying its order of November previous year.

The court has now opted for a gradual, graded approach to complete prohibition of the sale and use of fireworks in the NCR over the next few years.

"The governmental authorities need to realise their responsibility regarding the care and protection of the health of the people in Delhi and NCR and the importance of launching a sustained campaign to reduce air pollution to manageable limits during Diwali and the period immediately thereafter".

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The order states that if the fireworks are not in conformity with the requirements as laid down in Rules 15 and 84 of the Explosives Rules, they must be prohibited from being sold.

"The graded and balanced approach is not meant to dilute our primary concern which is and remains the health of everybody and the human right to breathe good quality air or at least not be compelled to breathe poor quality air".

The Supreme Court on Tuesday added that firecrackers can not be brought into Delhi-NCR from other states.

The court imposed a total ban on transport of firecrackers into Delhi and NCR from outside till further orders. The number of temporary licences should be capped at 500. "The health of children should be of foremost concern in this regard", it said.

The court appointed a committee headed by Central Pollution Control Board Chairperson to study the impact of fireworks during Diwali on public health and submit a report by December 31.

The apex courts order came on the application filed by manufacturers and suppliers of fire crackers, primarily based in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, seeking relaxation of its earlier order.

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